Low vacancy rates make it tough for Twin Cities apartment renters

The vacancy rate remains low in much of the metro, but the average cost is not. 

Developers are flooding the Twin Cities with new apartments, but it remains one of the most competitive markets in the nation for renters.

“I don’t think rental companies are desperate yet,” said Susan Cevette, who last week moved into a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment at the Rafter, a 26-story apartment tower that just opened at 333 E. Hennepin Av. in northeast Minneapolis.

Cevette, a small-business owner who wanted to downsize from a townhouse in the Bryn Mawr neighborhood, said she wanted to be in an area where she could more quickly walk to a grocery store and other essentials. There was no shortage of choices, she said, but none was a bargain.

“There were plenty of options as long as I was willing to pay the price,” she said.

With the average vacancy rate throughout the seven-county metro at just 2.3%, the average monthly rent is now at an unprecedented $1,254 — a nearly 8% increase over last year, according to a midyear report from Marquette Advisors.

Though apartments are filling as quickly as they are built in most of the metro, renters in parts of Minneapolis and St. Paul now have an abundance of options and more are on the way. In downtown Minneapolis, for example, the average vacancy rate increased slightly last quarter to nearly 5%, and in downtown St. Paul the vacancy rate was a metro-high of 7%, according to the report, which surveys nearly 150,000 rentals in buildings with more than 10 units. (Income-restricted rentals aren’t included in the survey.)

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"Low vacancy rates make it tough for Twin Cities apartment renters"; By Jim Buchta; StarTribune; August 24, 2019

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